Sunday, May 23, 2010
The defending champion Bulls will host the final of the Super 14 after they beat the Crusaders 39-24 in the first semifinal at the Orlando Stadium yesterday. They will host the Stormers, who won the other semi, at the same venue next weekend.
Fourie Du Preez once again showed why hes widely regarded as the premier scrumhalf in world rugby as, along with flyhalf Morne Steyn, he steered his side into the final with another great display as the Bulls kept up their run of 19 undefeated games at home.
Steyn himself scored 24 points, reaching and breaking Dan Carters 2006 record for the most points in a Super 14 season, 221. Steyn kicked nine penalties and three conversions, with tries scored by Fourie Du Preez, Pierre Spies, and Zane Kirchner.
Despite having to travel to South Africa for the second time in three weeks, Crusaders captain Richie McCaw refused to blame fatigue or travel for the loss.
"We've got no excuses with the travel. We were ready to go and we came up short," he said graciously. "It was just about little mistakes that we just couldn't afford to make," he said. "Their up and unders that we just needed to take, little things like that - and straight away they put us on the back foot. You start playing catch-up and they just punish you for it."
Bulls captain Victor Matfield said that despite playing away from 'fort' Loftus, he was happy to be part of the special occasion in Soweto, and was hoping to see the crowd out again next weekend for the final.
"I've played 100 games for the Bulls and this is one of the best experiences I've ever had," Matfield said. "Everyone's going to be back here next week and it's going to be huge."
There was a lot of talk last week about the Bulls resting players for their last round-robin game, but it proved a masterstroke as they looked fresh against the Crusaders.
"It's going to be a great final next week, but credit to all the guys for making our third final in four years," Man of the Match Du Preez said.
"There's been a lot of talk about our rest last week. But it's a tough competition. I think the rest helped us perform today," he added.